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The 20 most expensive signings of all time in football

Paul Pogba is the most expensive transfer in the history of football and he is certain to maintain top spot at least this summer.

Paul Pogba
Pogba is the most expensive football transfer of all-time

Football transfers have come a long way since 1953 when Real Madrid signed Alfredo di Stefano from River Plate for a world record transfer fee of € 217,000. Ever since Johan Cruyff became the first player to be sold for over a million euros, transfer fees have increased steadily.

With the revenues of football clubs increasing through the plethora of sponsorship deals that they keep signing, it should come as no surprise if football transfers, which have already breached the €100 million mark go over the £100 million mark as well.

The summer’s most protracted transfer saga is finally over as Paul Pogba has made his move from Juventus to Manchester United. Not only did the 23-year-old Frenchman earn a move back to the club he was sold from for £1.5m in 2012, but in the process, he also became the most expensive transfer in football history.

The midfielder’s €105m move to Manchester United beats the previous record held by Gareth Bale, who signed for Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for €101 million in the summer of 2013. In third place is another Real signing (Cristiano Ronaldo) and Gonzalo Higuain joined elite company as he made his move from Napoli to Juventus. The Argentine striker is now the fourth-most expensive player of all-time, behind Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

When Zinedine Zidane made his move away to Real Madrid, he held the record for the most expensive player for eight years, until another Real signing broke his record. In the summer of 2009, Ronaldo’s transfer was so massive that few thought it would ever be broken.

But just like they did with Ronaldo, Real showed their financial muscle once again by smashing the record out of the park by making Bale the first hundred million euro footballer. Tottenham were benefactors in 2013 and given the amount of money that is being thrown around, it was only a matter of time before Welshman’s record was broken.

Gareth Bale’s record stood for three years, now the biggest question after the announcement of Pogba’s transfer is merely how long the Frenchman will stay in first place. And will anyone breach not only his transfer fee but also become the first £100 million footballer in history.

John Stone’s transfer from Everton to Manchester City broke the record for the most expensive defender and the 22-year-old England international sneaks into the top 20 courtesy of his record fee.

So here is the list of the most expensive transfers in the history of football:

List of most expensive transfers in football history

No.PlayerFromToTransfer fee (M)Year
1Paul PogbaJuventusManchester United€1052016
2Gareth BaleTottenham HotspurReal Madrid€1012013
3Cristiano RonaldoManchester UnitedReal Madrid€942009
4Gonzalo HiguainNapoliJuventus€902016
5NeymarSantosBarcelona€88.22013
6Luis SuarezLiverpoolBarcelona€81.72014
7Angel Di MariaReal MadridManchester United€752014
8James RodriguezAS MonacoReal Madrid€752014
9Kevin De BruyneWolfsburgManchester City€742015
10Zinedine ZidaneJuventusReal Madrid€73.52001
11Zlatan IbrahimovicInter MilanBarcelona€69.52009
12KakaAC MilanReal Madrid€652009
13Edinson CavaniNapoliParis Saint-Germain€64.52013
14Angel di MariaManchester UnitedParis Saint-Germain€632015
15Raheem SterlingLiverpoolManchester City€62.52015
16Luis FigoBarcelonaReal Madrid€602000
17Fernando TorresLiverpoolChelsea€58.52011
18HulkZenit St PetersburgSIPG€55.82016
19John StonesEvertonManchester City€55.62016
20Hernan CrespoParmaLazio€552000
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